Parkinson's disease. 3D illustration showing neurons containing Lewy bodies small red spheres which are deposits of proteins accumulated in brain cells that cause their progressive degeneration

Parkinson’s is a condition that does not discriminate and over recent years some well-known people have experienced the ravages and debilitation of Parkinson’s which has brought this condition to the fore.  But what is Parkinson’s and how does it change a person’s life?

Physiopedia has a whole category on Parkinson’s Disease which demonstrates how diverse this condition can be.  It is not a simple condition, there are many subtypes such as Ideopathic Parkinson’s Disease, Vacular Parkinsonism and Parkinson Plus Syndromes (of which PSP is one). Research is still ongoing to find an effective way to manage all forms of the condition.  A cure is obviously the ultimate goal but in the meantime just being able to manage daily symptoms would be welcomed by the many people diagnosed.

Parkinson’s has many symptoms but the most noticeable signs and those that cause the biggest disability are those that are linked to movement.  The first sign is usually a tremor in the hand (sometimes both) which is often described as pill-rolling but it doesn’t stop simple movement tasks such as turning in bed, stand up from a chair and walking even short distances can soon be affected.

The condition has been linked to levels of L-Dopa in the brain and primary intervention is aimed at regulating these levels through medication but it is not a simple task and each person needs an individual prescription which needs careful monitoring.  Due to the unpredictability of medication and the progression of movement disability Physiotherapy is at the forefront of Parkinson’s care but the individual nature of the condition can often make it difficult to find the perfect intervention.  Choosing the right intervention requires a thorough assessment and awareness of the many ways it can affect an individual, we have a page on physiotherapy referral and assessment.  To help guide you in the care of somebody with Parkinson’s we have a whole section dedicated to Interventionsthat has some amazing pages, including:

So find a quiet corner, grab a cup of coffee and browse through the category here.  It has lots of information on assessment, interventions and even some case studies.  If you think of anything we have missed please reach out to us.  Remember Physiopedia is a resource for Physiotherapists and your feedback is always welcome!

For those of you that would like to know even more about Parkinson’s you could look at the awesome course that is available on Physioplus.

Parkinson’s Programme